The Spa Secret

The next morning, we had our breakfast, packed our bags and checked out of I Hotel Baloi. Our driver (Feri +62 813 6468 1780) was already waiting for us at the lobby.

The plan for the day was to relax and enjoy the spa and massage at The Spa Secret, which is located opposite Nagoya Hills Shopping Centre.

After we paid for our packages, we changed to slippers and followed the staff upstairs.

One of the spa room (there's a small locker under the bed)

As recommended by some people on TripAdvisor, we gave them a tip at the end of the massage, since their service was pretty okay.

I Hotel Baloi Batam

After we done with dinner at Barelang Seafood Restaurant, our driver (who had been waiting for us all these while) drove us to our hotel.

We stayed overnight in the newly opened I Hotel Baloi.

The reception

On our way to our rooms (too bad we didn't get connecting rooms)

The bathroom (with standing shower behind the door)

The toiletries (including the generous supply of toothpaste)

View from our room the next morning

We can see the swimming pool below from our room

View from the other room of the other side of the hotel

My breakfast

Barelang Seafood Restaurant

We spent almost an entire day at Batam Cable-Ski Park and I think I am going to get major muscle-ache the next day. As the park is about to close for the day, a cab was called in for us and we were off to our dinner venue.

My friend requested the driver to bring us to see the Barelang Bridge. As we were approaching, there were food stalls on the roadside.

Perhaps it was the weekend, groups of locals were gathering along the sides of the bridge.

View from the bridge

The Barelang Seafood Restaurant was near the bridge and we got there in no time.

At the end of the restaurant, there's a little kelong rearing sea life, such as fishes and shellfish.

Crabs in the water

Clams in the basket

View of the restaurant and the Barelang Bridge from the kelong.

Our dinner that came with a bucket of rice and costed us about SGD 50 in total for four girls.

Apparently, this Teh Botol is popular here. It actually sweetened jasmine green tea.

Batam Cable-Ski Park

After KB and I were back from Maldives, I had another trip lined up in the following weekend. This time, I'm going for a short getaway to Batam with my three girlfriends. One of them is super resourceful and planned the entire trip for us.

So, here we are at Harbourfront Ferry Terminal, boarding the boat on a hazy Saturday morning. When we reach Batam, we disembarked at Waterfront City Terminal. As we were going through the custom as a group (with the other people going for cable ski), our passports were collected. This felt really insecure for us, as we would definitely prefer to have our passports kept by ourselves while in a foreign country. Then, we boarded the bus that would take us to Batam Cable-Ski Park (BCP).

The ride on the chartered bus was a short one. It was about 11 am (Batam time) when we arrived at the ski park. Batam (GMT+7) is 1 hour behind Singapore (GMT+8). Each group of guests were allocated their own sitting area. One of the staff, Brown, was entertaining us and looking out of us, knowing that it was our first time there. Before we can go down to the water, all the first timers had to be briefed on the technicals know-hows and safety of cable skiing.

A super big trampoline

The queue for the cable ski

Throughout the whole time we were there, their sound system was blasting techno music. The place was pretty much filled with youngsters, who are way too happening and are perhaps drinking a little too much. They're not really my kind of crowd.

Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa

KB and I checked out of Hotel Ocean Grand at Hulhumale at about 1 pm. The hotel driver sent us back to the Malé International Airport and walked us right to Sheraton's booth.

There wasn't anyone at most of the hotel booths. We stood there and waited for awhile, then decided to take a seat nearby, where we could see the booth. When a staff finally appeared, he tagged our luggage and told us to wait for other guests to arrive. It was after more than an hour when we moved off from here.

A few staffs brought the luggage and load them on the speedboat. Off we go to the resort!

Fifteen minutes later, we found ourselves at paradise. The drizzle hasn't let up since morning.

All the guests were seated in the arrival lounge while check-in was being processed.

We were served some chilled lemongrass drink.

Going to room 111, which is really near the arrival lounge. We stayed a total of four nights here.

A desk behind the room door

The pantry / mini bar

Complimentary coffee, tea and mineral water (the hotel ensures that there's 6 bottles in the room during daily housekeeping).

The closet containing iron, ironing board, bathrobes, slippers, safe, hair-dryer and towels (for drying after getting out of the seawater).

The bed

The door leads to the outdoor deck.

Shower on the right and toilet bowl on the left.

The outdoor deck

Before the sun goes down on our first day here, we went exploring the island. The over-water rooms 101-112 are the nearest to the jetty. This is also the place to see the sunset.

Panoramic view of the water bungalows

The beginning of the boardwalk to the more expensive over-water rooms.

Under-utilised lounge chairs on the beach

The reception lounge, where check-out is processed.

This hotel does not provide complimentary wifi in the room. Only in this area, guest can login for free wifi.

Business centre behind the reception counters

Lounge area outside the business centre (free wifi still accessible here) and a souvenir shop further down this corridor.

Swimming pool

Two rooms on the ground floor and two rooms on the upper floor.

I'm guessing this is one of the beach cottages.

On the most east side of the island is where is Shine Spa is located.

Take this boardwalk to the little island for spa treatment. This is also the place to see sunrise, where we didn't manage to catch. It rained on our first morning. We woke up late on the second morning and the sun was already out of the horizon by the time we got here. On the third, it was too cloudy. And there was super heavy rain on the fourth morning (and that's our last day).

Our first dinner on the resort was at Sand Coast restaurant.

I ordered beef burger and KB ordered a pizza

We had breakfast every morning at the Feast restaurant, served in buffet style, at a charge of USD10 per person per day (which is surprising cheap).

After breakfast, we head over to the Water Sports Center to borrow the snorkeling gears.

The snorkeling goggles and breathing tubes are washed after every return from the guest.

Beach at the Water Sports Center

After getting rain the whole of day one, we're really fortunate that the weather was totally sunny on days two, three and four. Then, on day five, it drizzled again as we were leaving.

Bright and sunny day! And I simply have to take a postcard shot.

"Suntanning" our gears on the deck

Clear blue waters

Spot the little crab. There's more of them but they run away as I approaches to take a photo.

That's me floating around in paradise, enjoying the warm sunshine while soaking in the sea. The tide was highest in the afternoon and the waves were rather strong. So, on subsequent days, we only went into the water in the evening when the sea is calmer.

I was too excited about jumping into the sea and didn't care about putting on sunblock. I really should not underestimate the sun's power because I got a burnt nose after one hour of snorkeling!

We spent the rest of the afternoon lazing around in our room.

In the evening, we took these boats and set out to the set for dolphin watching. Bottled mineral water and soft drinks were provided and there's also a toilet on board.

Boats from various resorts gather around the same area to lookout for dolphins.

Tourists on the edge of the boats, armed with cameras.

Waiting for dolphins to appear

It's really challenging to catch the dolphins in action on photos, so I ended up recording on video. I have to keep the "tape" rolling all the time, in order not the miss the exciting moments. (Watch the dolphin jumping out of water at 1:20.)

Returning back to the resort after the dolphin watching trip.

KB and I joined one of the snorkeling trip on a late morning. I hopelessly cannot get used to stuffing the breathing tube into my mouth, so I just went down with my goggles (just like my Tioman island hopping trip many years ago). There was one elderly Caucasian couple on our boat and they were equipped with their own Tribord snorkeling mask. I am so going to get one of them on my next snorkeling trip!

Doodling on the sand

Watching the sunset on the boardwalk outside our room

The over-water rooms at night

We called for room service for two nights. Lunch and dinner are not actually cheap on the island (except breakfast) and everything is charged in US dollars. Before leaving for this trip, my friend had already advised me to bring instant cup noodles and tidbits, which we did. Perhaps, it is more economical and enjoyable if we had booked the room with the full-board option. There's no other dining choices other than the restaurants on the island anyway.

Soon, it's time to go back home... a last look at paradise on the plane.

Souvenirs I bought from the hotel's shop. There's actually a much wider variety in the transit area in the airport. The prices are mostly similar at the hotel and at the airport... except for the blue whale paper holder, which is much cheaper at the airport.